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Must-Try Outdoor Activities in Byron Bay

Visit the Pass and Wategos beach in Byron Bay and enjoy the natural beauty of the area
Visit the Pass and Wategos beach in Byron Bay and enjoy the natural beauty of the area | © Darren Tierney / iStock
Byron Bay’s beaches, rainforests, hotels, next-level food scene and year-round sunshine render it one of Australia’s best destinations. If you’re lucky enough to spend some time in this East Coast paradise, here are eight things to add to the itinerary.

Watch the sunrise at Cape Byron Lighthouse

Take a morning walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse to start your day in style | © Andrii Slonchak / Getty Images

Is there really a better way to ring in a new day than to watch the sunrise? In Byron, you can see it from the most easterly point of Australia. To get up to this location, you’ll need to follow the Cape Byron walk for 4km from the Main Beach to Byron’s famous lighthouse. The views are something else up there – and if you’re lucky, you may well catch a glimpse of a humpback whale. Fingers crossed.

Take a surf lesson on Main Beach

Byron Bay draws surfers from all over the world | © Marcos Welsh / Getty Images

Byron Bay is a surfing mecca, with loads of different beaches catering to varying skill levels. If you’re a newbie to catching a wave, Main Beach is a great place to start as it’s patrolled by the Surf Club, meaning it’s extra safe. Spend just a couple of hours out on the water alone or as part of a class and you’ll see why surfing is a way of life for many at The Bay.

Kayak with the dolphins

Spot bottlenose dolphins in the wild along Australia’s Pacific Coast | © RugliG / Getty Images

Ask people what their favourite sea animals are, and you’ll probably find most say: “dolphins!” For those who fall into that category, you’ll be pleased to know that the Pacific Ocean, which stretches around Byron, is home to groups of up to 100 bottlenose dolphins. To get up close and personal with these friendly animals, rent a kayak and head out onto the water. It also doubles up as a great workout.

Scuba dive at Julian Rocks

Julian Rocks is one of Australia’s top dive sites | © Strmko / iStock

The East Australian Current (EAC) fosters a unique environment at Julian Rocks in which tropical and coldwater fish co-habit. This diving spot, which is 2.5 kilometres from the Main Beach, is recognised as one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites. Its residents are leopard sharks, loggerhead turtles, dolphins, manta rays and scorpionfish, and beautiful soft and hard coral provide the backdrop.

Mountain bike through ancient volcanic terrain

Hike through subtropical rainforest along Bat Cave Creek in Nightcap National Park | © Auscape / iStock

Approximately a one-hour drive from the centre of town, the Nightcap National Park is the place to put your hiking boots to good use. Boasting beautiful rainforests and ancient volcanic terrain, this park in the Byron Hinterland is protected under UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Explore its secluded fire trails, backcountry single tracks and breathtaking downhill paths, before stopping at the swimming hole for lunch and a dip. At the top you’ll see the spectacular Minyon Falls.

Hang-glide above the cliffs at Cape Byron

Soak up the view from a hang-glider | © Hanis / Getty Images

Hang-gliding is the ultimate thrill for adrenaline junkies. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that allows you to get a whole new perspective on a place from a bird’s-eye view. And believe us, Byron Bay has some views. From Cape Byron – where the famous lighthouse is – you can take a 30-minute tandem flight over the ocean. If it’s your lucky day, you might be able to spot dolphins, turtles and white-bellied sea eagles.

Take a horse ride from bush to beach

Gallop along the beach in Byron Bay | © RapidEye / iStock

Whether you’re completely new to horse riding or already pretty comfortable in the saddle, you can’t deny that riding on the beach is a pretty cool and novel experience. You’ll start the ride in the sub-tropical Hinterland at a local riding school and cover woodlands before arriving on the beach. Have your camera at the ready, as this experience deserves a spot on Instagram feeds.

Stroll the Three Sisters walking track in Broken Head Nature Reserve

Broken Head Nature Reserve offers spectacular views of the coast | © Camila Se / Alamy

An easy 1.6km return walk, the Three Sisters track is a coastal walk that takes you up through the rainforest, trails around the clifftop and finishes at the lookout point. From here you’ll see Broken Head Beach, Cape Byron, and, of course, the Three Sisters rocks at the protected Broken Head Nature Reserve. And if you’re wondering, the name of these rocks comes from a story about three sisters who were turned to rock after being swept away by a strong current; it’s said that the tale was told to children to stop them swimming in the currents.